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Telling How to Make College Affordable 2013

Written By Julianna Benson on Sunday, March 31, 2013 | 8:00 AM

Telling How to Make College Affordable 2013Telling How to Make College Affordable 2013 - The California Senate introduced legislation this month. The Senate’s concerns surely include some basic facts: The cost of getting a college degree is no longer affordable to most young people, and even if they can afford college, they cannot get the general education courses they need to progress in their academic career. Major problems to be sure.

More universities are looking at blended learning – a form of distant education – or even at Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs, as one possible solution. It’s true that to accommodate larger student bodies, the large lecture hall combined with some online activity makes sense. Indeed, some courses can as easily be taught outside the classroom or lecture hall.
Allowing students to learn when and where it is most convenient for them is extremely attractive. Given the widespread availability of technology, it is not surprising that the “cyberschool” approach is fast becoming ordinary and acceptable at high schools and colleges in America, Europe and in other developed nations.

But collaboration and cooperation between most universities really hasn’t taken hold. Last month, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Steven G. Poskanzer and David R. Anderson, the presidents of Carleton College and St. Olaf College talked “about how these two colleges could work together more closely in areas like the library, the colleges’ technology infrastructure, human resources and payroll, and, ultimately, their academic programs.” And they did it.

There was criticism that they could’ve done more … and it’s still early. But while this collaboration occurred between smaller universities, isn’t there an opportunity for all universities?

The motto of the modern day corporation, as Robert Logan and Louis Stokes wrote 10 years ago, was “Collaborate to Compete.” The basic idea is to determine your core strength or strengths and leverage them while finding ways to cooperate with others … to provide things that must be done but in which your organization has no special talent.

The purpose is to make your organization more competitive in the marketplace. (see HERE)

The concept has worked and gained widespread acceptance, at least in the corporate world, but this same philosophy seems not to be applied to nonprofits, local governments, or to universities.

In the California State University (CSU) system and other state systems there must be similar opportunities to lower the costs and increase efficiency and availability. And, for curriculum too. Each university, for example, has an undergraduate program full of courses that everyone should take in their first two years; and subsequently, courses that are duplicated – depending on the major – in each of the 17 universities that are part of the CSU system.

Are they each so unique that there cannot be collaboration – even if they are team-taught? And aren’t we able to find ways to have the best faculty use blended learning techniques to all the CSU student body? Of course we can.

Furthermore, the idea of logging on when its convenient for many students and asking questions whenever they need to without the formality – and often embarrassment of more traditional classroom settings – also has its appeal. And, according to many experts in the online field, the new media make lectures more accessible and even more entertaining.
that could reshape higher education by requiring the state’s public colleges and universities to give credit for online courses.

Social media, email, and texting have displaced personal contact in a way that would have been hard to predict just a few years ago. Electronic media have become the standard way of communicating, according to Glenn Hartz a professor of philosophy at Ohio State University (See HERE). “Assuming that the content is there, the course is now judged largely on how artfully and smoothly the elements meld together into a coherent, pleasing whole,” Hartz said.

If we really want to be more accessible, more affordable and more efficient at delivering basic college education to more students, we need to ask how we can collaborate, where we can work together, and determine what we can do that is so unique to our university that it becomes our basic mission.

In short, we must find where we can collaborate … and, using technology, better serve young people in our region, and our country.

Eger is Van Deerlin Chair in Communications and Public Policy Director, Creative Economy Initiative School of Journalism and Media Studies San Diego State University.

Source : www.utsandiego.com
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